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What would Flying Spaghetti Monster do?

Dover, Pa., is a small town, just west of York and a little south of Harrisburg. The school district there has some 2800 students in grades K through 12, students who are much like us. Except for one thing: When these students reach the ninth grade, their biology classes will include the subject of ?intelligent design,? a non-scientific theory that tries to teach creationism, only using ?secular terms.?

They?re joined by various students from Ohio, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Georgia, Tennessee, Maryland, Illinois, Montana, and Kansas in having their First Amendment rights threatened by school board members who can?t tell the difference between church and state.

Certainly, it?s only expected that groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have stepped in to try and stop this; just last week, they welcomed a federal judge?s ruling that a trial challenging the Dover case would go forward. However, an Oregon State graduate with a physics degree is presenting a slightly more interesting challenge. His name is Bobby Henderson, and he believes in Pastafarianism: the church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Since intelligent design involves secular terms and includes as many diverse viewpoints as possible, Henderson wrote to the aforementioned school districts asking that his view of intelligent design be included as well. According to Henderson, the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. ?His Noodly Master,? furthermore, has deliberately planted any evidence of evolution that we naive humans might find. Devoted practitioners of the religion wear full pirate regalia, end all their prayers with ?Ramen? instead of ?Amen,? and are convinced that all of creation has been touched by ?His Noodly Appendage.?

If anyone is still in doubt of the merits of Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, consider this: According to the church?s website, ?Our heaven is WAY better. We?ve got a Stripper Factory AND a Beer Volcano.?

Henderson?s blatantly constructed protest against this clumsy insertion of religion into our education system is clever, but poignant as well. It?s hard to deny Henderson?s genius. He?s single-handedly managed to pinpoint the weaknesses of intelligent design, and, like a true prophet, has gained quite a following in the process. When school boards promote intelligent design, their ?open-mindedness? probably doesn?t extend past traditional creationism; now His Noodly Master is forcing them to contend with their own folly.

?Intelligent design,? as it stands now, isn?t much more than a thinly veiled attempt at feeding creationist theories to students who may not know any better. However, if supporters truly wish to uphold the more admirable ideal of pluralism by promoting a number of theories, they would do well to include Flying Spaghetti Monsterism. There?s no telling how many school kids may be touched and inspired by His Noodly Appendage.